News

PM flies in to fire disaster zone to meet with victims

FOR a few frightening hours, it looked as though flames were going to breach containment lines protecting Coonabarabran on Thursday but by late morning, firefighters reassured residents their town would be safe for another day.

It was a different story for families living on the outskirts of town and near the Warrumbungle National Park where 49 properties have now been confirmed lost.

Already, farmers have confirmed more than 5000 stock are dead and 110 sheds destroyed.

Heavy smoke is preventing firefighters from accessing remote areas and NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the damage bill was expected to rise significantly in coming days.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard flew into the heart of the disaster zone on Thursday to oversee fire co-ordination and meet with those who had lost everything.

She bought with her news that families in the Coonamble, Gilgandra and Warrumbungle regions who had been impacted by the fires were eligible for immediate disaster relief payments.

Families can claim payments of $1000 for each adult and $400 for each child.

Tax deductible status will be given to all relief funds established to help families in the Coonabarabran region.

An evacuation centre at the Coonabarabran Bowling Club will remain open 24 hours as conditions deteriorate from Friday.

The 45,000ha bush fire in the Warrumbungle National Park west of Coonabarabran remains the biggest threat.

A base camp has been set up at the Coonabarabran Racecourse for about 300 firefighters who have travelled from other areas to help. Air conditioned accommodation has been provided for the volunteers and last night alone, the community had supplied 300 steaks, 250 lamb chops, 800 sausages, 300 loaves of bread and 2700 eggs to the camp kitchen.

A total fire ban will be in place across most of the state on Friday as temperatures in some regions rise above 40degrees.

A map of affected areas is available at rfs.nsw.gov.au.

Disaster relief claims can be lodged at humanservices.gov.au/disaster of by calling 180 22 66.

More information on assistance can be found at disasterassist.gov.au.

Topics:  coonabarabran, disaster, fire, julia gillard




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

3 easy dinner recipes your kids will love, and so will you

No Caption

THERE is a middle ground! Dinners fit for kids and adults.

How to reduce your child's risk of food allergies

ABOUT 90% of food allergies are caused by just seven foods.

5 good mental health habits for kids (and parents)

CRYING OUT FOR HELP: The demand for counselling support for children and young people is increasing.

FORMING good habits early is critical for your child's mental health.

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Susie O'Neill: Why I stopped smacking my children

Swimming legend Susie O'Neill says she has stopped smacking her kids.

“I (smacked) because that’s what I knew growing up."

Introducing a step-parent into the family

Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent.

THERE is no easy way to introduce a step parent into the family.

CQ man still missing in Nigeria after kidnapping

NIGERIA: Three Australian men are missing after a kidnapping in Nigeria on Wednesday, which is believed to have to involved this car.

Fate of three Australian men still unknown

LISTEN: Thieves stole over 300 items from CQ building sites

91 james street mt morgan

Seven people from three Mount Morgan addresses charged

Dr McPhee talks win for rural docs

HEALTHY MOVE: Dr Ewen McPhee in his new office.

Dr Ewen McPhee talks win for rural docs

Latest deals and offers

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

Anthony Lynham on the Mount Morgan Mine

Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham talks about...

Fitroy Basin River report 2014-5

Nathan Johnston announces the 2014-15 Waterway health report card at the Fitzroy...

Yeppoon up with the state's best as house prices rebound

Agent Adam Cook (right) says coast homes are now more affordable.

Capricorn Coast homes, once out of reach, are now more affordable

Is this state’s cheapest house?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward